Two hotly contested rent control initiatives are heading to the Minneapolis Charter Commission for review.
The Minneapolis City Council gave unanimous approval Friday to forward a proposed charter amendment that would allow the city to either impose a rent control ordinance if approved by voters or put the issue on a future ballot.
Council members also voted 11-2 to advance a separate charter amendment proposal that would allow Minneapolis residents to put a rent control question on the ballot by petition.
The court-appointed charter commission has 150 days to make a recommendation to the council. City leaders can accept or reject those recommendations before a final vote in August would send the issues to voters in November.
The city must follow several steps before imposing a cap on how much landlords can charge their tenants. A 1984 Minnesota law prohibits local governments from adopting rent control ordinances unless approved by at least 51% of voters in an election.
One of the proposed ballot questions would ask voters whether to allow the council to adopt a rent control ordinance, which officials believe would satisfy the state law.
Council Member Cam Gordon said in a statement that he is confident voters would approve a measure in November "and then we will move forward with writing a thoughtful and effective rent stabilization policy for Minneapolis."
A preliminary report released this week by the University of Minnesota Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) found that people of color were disproportionately affected by steep increases in rents and that restrictions on landlords would provide greater stability for tenants.
Council Members Gordon and Jeremiah Ellison and Council President Lisa Bender said they introduced the two charter amendments after seeing in their wards how "egregious and unaffordable rent increases" upended the lives of their constituents.
Those resident voices dominated a public hearing Wednesday, though a few landlords and their representatives also spoke against the proposals, with some threatening to displace their tenants.
Faiza Mahamud • 612-673-4203